In the News
In October, Amy Evans from the PA Chapter of the American Planning Association interviewed me for a two-part series in their monthly newsletter. Here’s the second article entitled, Social Media Management Tips from Uncharted Lancaster.
Social Media Management Tips from Uncharted Lancaster
by Amy Evans
Many planners first come to social media account administration through the *other duties as assigned line in their job description and find it challenging to adapt to the finer points of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, YouTube, and whatever the next new thing might be. Last month, Uncharted Lancaster’s Adam Zurn talked to us about his site’s unique flavor of adventure-based engagement & exploration. This time, Adam shares a few essentials that can help you get the most out of the time you put into posting.
First, he advises us to think of social media as hungry. The more you post, or “feed the beast,” as Zurn says, the greater the engagement. But generating content – and customizing it across platforms – is time consuming, so reuse and repurpose what you already have. If your organization has a newsletter, post it in bite-sized pieces. Share tables, charts, and images from your plans and events. Highlight staff and community. If you post something on Wednesday morning, post it again on Sunday afternoon with a new photo or a different lead-in. Repost content from years past but include a new perspective. Reserve a block of time and schedule out a week or a month in advance. Share content with related Groups. You’ll reach people who already have an interest in that area. If they like your post, you can invite them to follow your page. This can be a very productive way to grow your audience. Take a quick look at Uncharted Lancaster’s Facebook Page to see this advice in action.
Social media isn’t an end unto itself. At its root, it’s building connections. Uncharted Lancaster’s website, for example, gets many visitors by way of Facebook. Driving traffic this way takes more than posting and hoping for the best. Know your core audience and interact respectfully with Groups and other Pages that attract that audience. Review your Page metrics and share content at times when people are most likely to see it. Note activity flows in specific Groups and take advantage. Format posts for the medium and emphasize the visual and the intriguing.
The most difficult challenge is standing out in the clutter and chatter of peoples’ online experiences. People (and algorithms) sniff out sales pitches. “The “pitches” might not be literal for most planners, but people are more likely to interact if they get something – an interesting tidbit, a chance to have their voice heard, a sneak peek, a useful tip, an adventure –for their time and attention. An algorithm, on the other hand, may feel like it’s working against you, in hopes you’ll promote the post for a fee.
Account administrators don’t have to use platforms personally, but should absolutely understand each one’s purpose and posting climate. Learn about new platforms as they emerge. Instagram, for example, often trips up unfamiliar administrators. It exists to promote brand awareness, so including links in captions or posting complicated calls to action will not only fall flat – they’ll reveal that you’re not platform-savvy, and therefore, probably not a good follow.
Lastly, don’t forget that the real world is a fine source of online engagement. Zurn regularly gives virtual and in-person talks to community groups. Not only do these events provide posting fodder, they connect Uncharted Lancaster to new members of its core audience, many of whom are active on social media.